Wise Words from the Redheaded Stranger
At the age of 73, Willie Nelson has written 2,500 songs, released 250 records, sold 50 million albums, and performed just over 10,000 shows. He’s also had his fair share of struggles: poverty, a Nashville home that burned down, a tax snafu that left him $32 million in debt to the IRS. Yet through it all, he’s learned to stand up, brush the dirt off, and get on the road again.
In his recently-released third book The Tao of Willie: A Guide to Happiness in Your Heart, Nelson shares the spiritual and practical lessons (aka “Willie Wisdom”) he’s acquired. But, as he prefaces: “They say the success of a rain dance is generally related to its timing. I suspect that the success of advice-giving works pretty much the same way. So if any of the following things I’ve learned does good things for you, I’m happy to take credit. If not, then I say we blame it on the weather.”
Willie’s Wisdom (in his words):
The Tao teaches that the act of creation is a form of liberation. You can’t always change the circumstances of your life, but you can change your perception of those circumstances and of your world around you by any creative act. So to each of you I say, “Create!” It doesn’t matter what: a line of poetry, a phrase of a song, or a perfect pot roast. Cook a perfect pot roast and you will never dine alone.
I believe in the power of laughter and the beauty of a good joke. A skeleton walks into a bar and says, ‘Give me a beer and a mop’.
While I was fighting and often failing to find success in Nashville, I became a champion of negative thinking. I’d started writing cheating songs even though I wasn’t old enough at the time to know what I was talking about. By the time I hit my thirties, I’d been married twice and knew plenty about relationships gone wrong…It’s not easy to live positively in a world that thrives on the negative, but I turned myself around and made it known that I didn’t want people bringing their negative shit around me. It took me a long time to realize I didn’t have to make life so danged hard.
I’ve noticed that most people spend too much time worrying about what someone else is doing or saying. If someone’s a jerk, that’s their misfortune, not yours. Let the jerks of the world serve as the perfect example of what you don’t want to be. You’ll be a heck of a lot happier.
If you forgive your enemies, it messes up their heads.
Every time you breathe, eat, or smear some product on your skin, toxins accumulate in your body. Water flushes those toxins away. Piss more; you’ll live longer.
Never miss an opportunity to shut up.
Your love life may not be perfect –okay, chances are your love life is definitely NOT perfect. Work may leave something lacking, and you may be a few coins shy of that Jamaican vacation you’ve been dreaming about. But those are distractions, obstacles, and challenges to overcome. The easiest mistake on earth is to forget to appreciate what you have right now.
If your life in this modern world seems to pass you by at the speed of light, perhaps you should consult Einstein, who proved that the faster we travel, the more time is compressed. That’s right, the faster we go, the less time we have. So what’s your hurry?
Like they say, you’ve got to slow down and smell the flowers. Or in my case, smoke the flowers.
The Tao of Willie: A Guide to Happiness in Your Heart, $20, amazon.com